Dishwashers · Dryer · Energy Efficiency · Energy Star · Events · laundry · Product Roundup · Ranges · Refrigerator · Sustainability

Common Cottage Eco Experience at the Minnesota State Fair

Again this year, Warners’ Stellian appliances among other eco-friendly home ideas in the Eco Experience Common Cottage exhibit at the Minnesota State Fair.

Sure the house has a smart design and is constructed from reused and reclaimed materials, but you can also learn tips to improve the house you have: increase the energy efficiency of your home with an energy audit, incorporate composting and recycling systems, improve indoor air quality and install eco-friendly kitchen surfaces and appliances.

And if that doesn’t get you going, there are backyard chickens on the patio, covered by part of the now-defunct Metrodome roof (and a super pretty natural gas grill from Warners’ Stellian).

If you’re intersted in improving the energy efficiency of your home, you’ll be introduced to the best resources for financing your energy improvements, from loans, rebates, tax credits, or grants.

My camera ran out of batteries before I could take pictures of the STUNNING kitchen, with its blue-green colored reclaimed cabinets and recycled glass counter tops, but I can show you the smart and sexy appliances we chose to showcase this year:

Liebherr refrigerator

The architects on this project specifically requested Liebherr, and we couldn’t have agreed more. Liebherr goes beyond being super energy efficient (27% over federal standards) to become the most sustainable refrigerators; its refrigerators are manufactured in the greenest way out there. Plus, its two compressors ensure premium food preservation. Basically, your fresh (local?) foods will last way longer because the dry air from the freezer won’t disturb the humidity in the refrigerator.

Electrolux induction range

Elements on this Electrolux induction range automatically detect the presence of magnetic cookware, activate the induction field and adjust it to the exact size of the pan. This means that no energy is wasted heating anything else but the cookware holding your food. Induction is 20% more efficient than electric and 70% more efficient than gas, though it boasts the same power and responsiveness that cooks love.

Bosch dishwasher

Not only is it whisper quiet, this Bosch dishwasher uses only 2.4 gallons of water per wash; the average kitchen faucet flows about 4 to 7 gallons per minute!

LG washer/dryer combination

 

This ventless LG washer / dryer combo takes up less space and washes and dry in one appliance. Plus the washer is Energy Star rated, meaning it uses less energy and water to do its job.

Design · Dryer · laundry · Washer

Laundry room ideas that do double duty

Because it’s the sole unfinished room in my house, my laundry room is my project in waiting.

I love browsing laundry room designs for inspiration, and my favorites incorporate multiple purposes into an otherwise underused space.

Now that washers and dryers are less noisy, people don’t mind setting up a gift-wrapping station into laundry room shelves. You might see a craft or scrapbooking station among laundry room cabinets and decor. Some people are even including laundry into mudrooms and bathrooms. I say it’s smart!

Check out these laundry room photos I grabbed (mostly from houzz.com) exemplifying some multipurpose room ideas.

Laundry Room traditional laundry room
Not only is a laundry room counter a great place to fold clothes, but it’s also ideal for wrapping presents.
Willowgrove Laundry Room contemporary laundry room
I’m a sucker for black and white, so I love this mudroom/laundry room. So clean.
Case Design/Remodeling, Inc. eclectic laundry room
Tuck a small office space next to your laundry to kill two to-do list birds with one stone. I especially like that the office chair can fold up easily.
Master bath / laundry eclectic laundry room
Why devote an entire space to doing laundry when most front-loading washer and dryers stack easily to hide in a bathroom cabinet?
No 2 contemporary laundry room
Another laundry room with a gift-wrapping station, but a bit brighter this time. I love the hexagon tile on the floor 🙂
inspiration contemporary laundry room
Another bathroom/laundry room, but a countertop acts as a supplies shelf and folding station this time.
woodlawn residence traditional laundry room
Clean your pets while you clean your clothes!
Modern Laundry Room by Normandy Builders modern laundry room
I believe that the washer and dryer are tucked in these cabinets? It also includes a gift-wrapping station and gardening center.

Haven’t you always wanted a corner office?

Center Street Mudroom traditional entry
Mudroom with peak-a-boo stacked laundry.

This laundry room, while less chic, makes space for everything in cute, colorful containers and includes a counter space for folding, wrapping and crafting.

Cleaning · HOW TO · laundry · Washer

Stain removal suggestions from regular people

Welcome to my life.

For those of us who end up wearing 10% of what we eat, stain removal is a constant battle.

Washing machines themselves are getting better at removing stains from clothing without any kind of pretreating or spot removal.

But for tougher jobs like grass stains, you might need to some additional help.

Tide Stain Brain collects real people’s successful stain removal tricks and displays them by stain type. So if you need to figure out how to get rid of wine stains, click on the wine button and you’ll find out that white wine actually removes a red wine stain, according to several submissions. Or learn that hydrogen peroxide is the best stain remover for blood.

If you have a smartphone, you can download a mobile app, which could be real handy when I spill coffee all over myself while walking into work (happens at least twice a week).

You can comment on specific submission or add your own. It reminds me of my second favorite website (after www.warnersstellian.com, of course) AllRecipes.

Cleaning · Dryer · laundry · vacuums · Washer

Seasonal allergy treatment? How about prevention?

After a windy spring weekend outdoors, I found myself battling itchy eyes and a watery nose yesterday.

Seasonal allergy symptoms are back.

For those who suffer from pollen allergy symptoms, you know how easily the tiny allergens travel…everywhere.

But treatment of seasonal allergies isn’t the only option. I much prefer preventing symptoms altogether, rather than relying on allergy remedies once I’m already dealing with histamines.

Here are the two main ways I prevent allergy symptoms:

  1. Keep windows and doors closed. Pollen travels mostly through the air, so I don’t let it blow into my house.
  2. Wash your hair and clothes soon after returning from the outdoors. Pollen will attach to you outdoors, and you’ll help it set up shop around your house by simply moving around and making contact. (Think about everything you touch: your pillows and sheets, your furniture, your carpet…)

So, because vacuuming your floors and washing your clothes and sheets is such a huge component to prevention, those with terrible allergies have found relief in some  products designed with them in mind:

LG’s Allergiene cycle from its TrueSteam washer and dryer

LG’s Allergiene washer cycle uses steam power to gently remove over 95% of common household allergens, like dust mites and pet dander, from even the most delicate fabrics.

Plus, you can safely sanitize nonwashable items like pillows and toys in LG’s steam dryer, which is what I did with all my throw pillows last night.

AquaFilter system in the Rotho Twin TT 580 canister vacuum

Rotho uses water and a HEPA filter to trap dust and dirt, not a canister or a bag, so it’s no surprise it has a 99.999% retention capacity, making it the ideal vacuum for allergy sufferers. Vacuuming is supposed to get rid of all the stuff that irks you, not kick it up into your airway.

The Rotho vacuum sprays water and cleaning solution on the area, then simultaneously vacuuming up the used water and solution to free embedded soil, dust mites, allergens, and odors — not the stuff sitting on the surface.

The $795 price tag makes it spendier than the also-awesome Dyson DC 23 Animal canister vacuum, but the Rotho’s deep-cleaning features and water filtration make it the ultimate tool for an allergy-free home.

Appliance Design · laundry · Washer

Why HE detergent is a must

I’m going to eschew the obligatory Valentine’s-themed blog post for a topic close to my heart: oversudsing.

More laundry detergent does NOT mean more clean, especially in a front-loading high-efficiency washing machine.

High-efficiency washers use far less water by design than traditional washing machines. Less water and more powerful wash action means less dilution of detergent, leading to overproduction of suds.

High-efficiency detergent (or HE detergent) provides the just right amount of suds to ensure the cleanest clothes possible. HE detergent is labeled “concentrated” or “2x” oftentimes, and sports this symbol on its bottle or box.

Make sure to follow the instructions on the label based on load size. And not that tablet laundry detergent isn’t recommended by manufacturers because of issues dissolving in the washer dispenser.

If you don’t use HE detergent,Whirlpool Corp. warns of the following problems:

  • Poor cleaning results.
  • Detergent residue left on clothing.
  • Washer odor due to sudsing residue.
  • Wet clothes at the end of the cycle due to excess suds hindering spinning and draining.
  • Leaking due to excess suds.
  • Extended cycle times or excessive water usage from extra rinsing to remove suds.
  • Error codes.

So remember, less is more.

 

Budget-wise · DIY · Dryer · laundry · Sustainability

What to do with all that dryer lint?

You should clean your dryer lint from the lint trap after every use. A lint-covered lint filter reduces air movement, compromising the dryer’s ability to get to work on your wet clothes.

But what do you do with all that lint, then?

I heard a creative lint reuse idea the other day I found rather timely.

Stuff toilet paper tubes or paper towel tubes with lint for firestarters or kindling.

(This use, of course, speaks to the flammability of dryer lint — another reason to clean your lint trap!)

I’m looking for more ways to reuse the full wastebasket of lint I have in my laundry room. Any ideas?

Budget-wise · Energy Efficiency · laundry · Product Roundup · Washer

5 Energy Star washers that almost pay for themselves

Appliances aren’t cheap. And Energy Star appliances cost even more than standard, new appliances.

But that’s just the sticker price. I’ve blogged before about how the long-term savings of Energy Star washers will not only end up costing less than regular washers in the end, they’ll pay for a dryer.

An Energy Star washer costs an average of $258 more at purchase time, but saves about $481 in energy and water costs over its lifetime.

Now, unless you get it at heavy discount or as part of a government stimulus/utility rebate program, $481 won’t pay for an Energy Star washer. But it comes close.

Here’s a roundup of the least-expensive Energy Star washing machines to prove that energy efficient appliances can be accessible to all.

GE 4.1 Cu. Ft. Energy Star Washer (EWA5600KWW)
Frigidaire Front-Load Washer (FTF530FS)
Maytag 4.0 cu. ft. Energy Star Washer (MVWC6ESWW)
Whirlpool 4.3 Cu. Ft Energy Star Washer (WTW5500XW)
MY PICK: Fisher & Paykel EcoSmart 4.2 cu.ft washer (WA42T26GW1)